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Monday, 22 January 2018

INFOGRAPHIC: THE WORLD'S 17 MOST DANGEROUS FOODS

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Food is one of our most basic needs. It's for our survival as well as pleasure. At the opposite end, however, are foods that pose great danger to our health and even our lives. The following infographic by Mr Gamez presents a list of the world’s most dangerous foods.

http://www.mrgamez.com/dangerous-foods/img/infographic.png

Infographic Sources:
1.
Dangerous Dining: The World’s 10 Deadliest Delicacies
2. The world’s most dangerous food
3. The Most Dangerous Foods in the World
4. The World’s 10 Most Dangerous Foods People Actually Eat
5. 14 deadliest delicacies around the world
6. Dangerous Delicacies: 12 Foods That Could Kill You, But Probably Won't
7. 12 Dangerous Delicacies From Around the World
8. The 10 Most Deadly Foods on the Planet
9. World's Most Dangerous Foods
10. Every year, Egyptians risk their lives eating this dangerous delicacy
11. Fugu
12. Eating unopened ackees can be fatal
13. Dangerous Dining
14. Shanghai getting tougher on blood clam ban
15. Toxic Pufferfish Invade Eastern Mediterranean, Killing People and Irking Fisherman
16. 27 children die after eating cassava at Philippine school
17. 10 Makanan Paling Berbahaya di Dunia
18. 4 exotic dishes in South Korea for the brave & good traveler
19. The Fishmarket India
20. Nordic Food Lab
21. Bloody Clams
22. The Gates Notes
23. Absinthe
24. Drinks Planet
25. Fuel Station
26. I Am Foodgeek
27. Serving Joy

[Source: Mr Gamez.]

Sunday, 21 January 2018

INFOGRAPHIC: THE RAW MATERIALS THAT FUEL THE GREEN REVOLUTION

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Even though green energy comes from renewable sources like the sun and the wind, it still requires massive amounts of finite resources to make it all work. To get off fossil fuel, we need massive amounts of other metals and minerals, as highlighted in the following infographic from Visual Capitalist.

[View a high resolution version of this graphic]

The Raw Materials That Fuel the Green Revolution

Top image credit: PIRO4D/Pixabay.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

9 OF THE SNOWIEST PLACES ON THE PLANET

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9 of the snowiest places on the planet
By Mary Jo DiLonardo,
Mother Nature Network, 18 January 2018.

When winter hits and snow threatens, we can fear having to shovel the occasional sidewalk or scrape off a windshield. But while most of us only have to worry about snow for a few months and maybe only a few inches, there are places in the world where residents know they'll be dealing with massive amounts of icy precipitation that can seem like its endless.

For example, Shirakawa-go in Japan [top image] gets an average of about 400 inches (1,000 cm) each winter. Doesn't make your driveway look so bad now, does it?

From Japan to Canada, Alaska to France, here's a look at some of the snowiest places on Earth.

1. Mount Washington, New Hampshire, USA

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Photo: Michael Davidson/Wikimedia Commons

Proudly calling itself the "Home of the World's Worst Weather," the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire [pictured above] averages a total of 282.1 inches (716.7 cm) of snow each year, according to the Weather Channel.

Mount Washington is located in "a perfect trifecta of three weather fronts," says Onboard. "Atlantic weather fronts meet with Gulf winds and Pacific Northwest fronts, before they’re rocketed skywards by the sheer vertical rise of the range."

And it's not just the snow. Hurricane winds whip through Mount Washington's peaks for an impressive 110 days a year. Because of the winds, the snow doesn't stay around, usually getting blown into nearby ravines.

2. Aomori City, Japan

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Photo: Ari Helminen/Flickr

Nestled between Aomori Bay, Mutsu Bay and the Hakkōda Mountains, Aomori City gets walloped with an average 300 average inches (762 cm) of snow a year, due to its location in relation to the ocean and its high elevation in the mountains, says Conde Nast Traveler.

The city's name translates to mean "blue forest," because of the oceans and lakes that surround the lush greenery - when it isn't covered in snow, that is.

3. St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Photo: ALAN SCHMIERER/Wikimedia Commons

St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. According to Conde Nast, the city gets an average of 132 inches (335 cm) of snow every year, which lasts until late April.

The oldest and most eastern city in North America also has a reputation as the windiest, foggiest and cloudiest of main Canadian cities.

4. Valdez, Alaska

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Photo: Joseph/Flickr

The snowiest city in the United States according to the Weather Channel, Valdez gets about 314 inches (798 cm) of snow per year. Surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, the snow and terrain make this wintry city a favorite for outdoor sports fans. Enthusiasts head here for heli-skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, fat biking riding and cross-country skiing.

5. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

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Photo: brewbooks/Flickr

The Paradise area at Mount Rainier National Park (elevation of 5,400 feet) in Washington state is known for its snowfall. According to the National Park Service, the area once had the world record for measured snowfall in a single year. In the 1971 to 1972 season, an impressive 1,122 inches of snow (28.5 meters) fell in Paradise.

As Onboard explains it, the Pacific Northwest has a "golden equation" when it comes to snow systems. "The Gulf of Alaska, farther to the west, creates huge storms that are added to by a system called Cyclogenesis, which intensifies them. These huge low-pressure systems are then carried along by the jet stream that then carries them eastward. As it’s carried eastward, it hits the warm air of the lower mountains which then means the mother of all weather systems then hits the higher peaks in Washington and Oregon."

The result is lots and lots of snow.

6. Shirakawa-go, Japan

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Photo: fullfen666/Wikimedia Commons

The historic village of Shirakawa-go is a mountain town known for its steep forests and traditional farmhouse building style known as gasshō-zukuri, with thatched roofs built to withstand heaps of snow. With a name that translates into "White River Village," according to Smithsonian, the town gets a remarkable 415 inches (10.5 meters) of snow each year.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawa-go celebrates the snowy landscape in winter by organizing illumination events in January and February that attract tourists to see the traditional homes lit up in the snow.

7. Saguenay, Quebec, Canada

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Photo: Khayman/Wikimedia Commons

Called a snowmobiler's paradise, Saguenay is of one Canada's snowiest cities, receiving an average of 132 inches (336 cm) each year. Saguenay is located 200 miles west of the capital of Quebec City and is a relative newcomer, only established in 2002 as a merger between municipalities and cities, including Chicoutimi, Jonquière and La Baie.

8. Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

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Photo: Haseyu-/Wikimedia Commons

Famous for producing the well-known Japanese beer, Sapporo is also known for being one of the Earth's snowiest cities. With an annual snowfall of about 191 inches (485 cm), the city is home to nearly 2 million residents and a yearly snow festival each February. The festival, which is famous for its massive snow-sculpture building contest, attracts 2 million tourists and features more than 200 snow and ice sculptures during the event.

Attending the festival? Organizers warn that it will be cold and the ice and snow will be very slippery. "You should wear at least three layers of clothes to keep you warm outside. Typically this means: thermal underwear, a sweater and a thick overcoat or a proper winter garment such as ski jacket. A knitted hat or ear-warmers and gloves are also recommended."

9. Chamonix, France

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Photo: AntonyB/Wikimedia Commons

Although it's hard to find a true "winner" because of record-keeping issues, this French town in the Alps gets the most snow in Europe, at least according to Live Science. In 2016, for example, Chamonix received an impressive 312 inches (792 cm) of snow. The town, which sits in the shadow of Mont Blanc, was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and is now a popular destination for skiing and other winter sports.

Top image: The historic village of Shirakawa-go, Japan. Credit: ESU/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Images added.]

Friday, 19 January 2018

10 INFECTIOUS DISEASES THAT CHANGED HISTORY

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10 Infectious Diseases That Changed History
By Evan Beck,
Listverse, 19 January 2018.

Along with natural disasters, infectious diseases are among the top unintentional causes of human death and suffering the world over. Some diseases have left their mark on the human race, warping the course of human history in their wake.

In certain cases, like that of the bubonic plague, population levels were drastically reduced for centuries afterward. In other cases, such as polio, the infection of a renowned individual led to the further recognition of a disease and the need for a cure.

10. Bubonic Plague

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Photo credit: National Geographic

The bubonic plague (aka the “Black Death“) spread across Europe from east to west during the 14th century. The Yersinia pestis bacterium was responsible for the epidemic and used Oriental rat fleas as its intermediary in reaching the human population. Rats, which carried infected fleas, traveled west on the Silk Road and on ships across the Mediterranean.

The bubonic plague demonstrated early on how human advancements in commerce and trade could fatally spread a pathogen. The plague’s name comes from the Latin word bubo, referring to a pustule or abscess.

The symptoms were gruesome. They started with fever and sweating but progressed to blackish-blue boils across the groin. If the boils weren’t lanced, they grew and people would die from the toxic buildup. Likewise, lancing the buboes was often just as deadly and could lead to the pathogen becoming airborne.

The mortality rate with this disease was upward of 70 percent, killing up to 200 million across Europe and cutting the continent’s population in half. Historians believe that the spread of the bubonic plague contributed to the fall of the feudal economic system and caused irreparable damage to the church.

Many priests were infected after performing last rites and funeral services. Still more withdrew from their parishes, afraid of contracting the plague. To this day, the bubonic plague ranks among history’s most gruesome diseases even as the development of antibiotics has limited the Black Death’s contemporary occurrences.

9. Smallpox

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Photo credit: americanhistory.si.edu

When Europeans first arrived in the New World during the late 15th and early 16th centuries, they used advanced military techniques to conquer North and South America with haste. But they also brought smallpox, which played an instrumental role in killing Native Americans.

Europeans from the Old World had a long history of living in close quarters with domesticated animals as well as eating and drinking from similar sources. This led to the spread of many diseases. But those who survived developed an impressive immunity to otherwise deadly pathogens. These individuals were among America’s first settlers, who brought smallpox to the continents as early as 1520.

In conjunction with other Old World diseases like the flu and measles, smallpox went on to kill almost 90 percent of the Native American population, far outpacing the damage done by late medieval warfare. Smallpox was also a vicious deforming agent, leaving those infected with noticeable sores across their bodies.

Fast-forward several centuries, and smallpox is one of just two diseases (the other is rinderpest) to be fully eradicated from the human population due to vaccination efforts. Today, smallpox can only be found in exceedingly guarded laboratory settings.

8. Spanish Influenza

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Photo credit: US Army

The 1918 flu pandemic was caused by one of the deadliest 20th-century pathogens, infecting 500 million individuals worldwide. Outbreaks in the United States and Europe soon spread around the world.

Although this deadly strain of the flu ravaged population centers indiscriminately, it quickly gained the moniker “Spanish influenza” as Spain was hit particularly hard by the bug. Even Spain’s King Alfonso XIII contracted it.

Spanish influenza had a noticeable effect on World War I’s battlefields as it infected many young, otherwise healthy individuals. Records from the time suggest that more Americans were killed by the 1918 flu than from fighting on the front lines.

Forty percent of servicemen in the US Navy contracted the flu. Almost as many in the US Army were afflicted as well. The flu’s effects were noted across the economy and military, with many believing that the outbreak influenced the direction of World War I by infecting militias and destroying medical infrastructure.

Flu vaccines were first developed in the 1940s.

7. Polio

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Photo credit: NBC News

Today, polio is exceedingly rare, with relatively few cases in the industrialized world since Jonas Salk developed a polio vaccine. Prior to the creation of a vaccine, polio was easily transmitted in an infected individual’s stool or via droplets when he sneezed.

Polio is commonly asymptomatic. Yet when symptoms do present themselves, they can be debilitating. The disease is notorious for paralyzing its victims, requiring them to live the rest of their lives in iron lungs. Paralysis caused by polio can’t be reversed. Although mobile generators can aid some of the afflicted, others still rely on the iron lungs made famous in the 1940s.

The best-known individual to suffer polio paralysis was former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His efforts to combat the stigma of the disease touched every aspect of the presidency in the years leading up to and through World War II. Ultimately, this changed how a man - and a nation - viewed paralysis-inducing disease and subsequent disability.

6. Syphilis

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There are four stages of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that first appears with a benign chancre at the spot of infection. Secondary syphilis presents with a widespread rash and swollen lymph nodes. The bacteria then enters a latent stage before surfacing as tertiary syphilis, which leads to neuromuscular degeneration, blindness, and dementia.

Historians are unsure as to how syphilis got a footing in European populations, but the leading hypothesis says that it was an import from New World colonization. Syphilis has marred many famous individuals, including several members of the medieval papacy. In 1508, Julius II was unable to have his foot kissed by fellow Christians because it was covered in syphilitic sores.

Syphilis also had a long history of inspiring worthless medical remedies such as the use of mercury, which often left the infected worse off. Today, syphilis is still widespread, though it can often be cured with penicillin.

5. HIV/AIDS

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Few diseases have carried the stigma of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which transforms into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Scientists believe that the virus crossed over from primates to humans in Africa during the early 20th century. Yet the disease didn’t gain traction in popular culture until the early 1980s when several gay men in New York and California exhibited strange cases of pneumonia and cancer.

Its initial association with gay men led to the early name “gay-related immune deficiency” (GRID). Paranoia swept Europe and the United States as individuals were unsure what modes were responsible for spreading the disease. HIV’s association with the gay community led to the development of activist groups like ACT UP, helping to propel early LGBT advocacy and solidify eventual rights for sexual minorities decades later.

4. Tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis (TB) is a deadly respiratory infection that can take two forms: latent TB and active TB. Latent TB isn’t contagious, and one’s immune system can often fight it off. In fact, one-third of the world’s population has latent TB.

In weakened immune systems, active TB can take hold. Symptoms include bouts of coughing, severe chest pain, night sweats, and loss of appetite. The rise of HIV/AIDS is linked to a rise in TB cases as weakened immune systems have a nearly impossible time fighting off the otherwise latent bacteria.

Tuberculosis left its mark on science in more than one way. In the 19th century, TB was often spread through milk. This led to the development of batch pasteurization, a low-temperature method of pasteurization which has its roots in eradicating tuberculosis in dairy products.

3. Malaria

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Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by parasites that leave those infected with flu-like symptoms. Malaria remains one of the world’s most serious killers, infecting more than 200 million in 2016 and killing almost 500,000.

Malaria’s common claim to fame is its possible role in killing Alexander the Great. But did you know that malaria - and resistance to it - lent a hand in the brutal transatlantic slave trade? There is no evidence of malaria in precolonial America, and thus its introduction ravaged native populations.

This led early European populations to look to the people of Africa, who were resistant to malaria if they survived the disease as children, to work on America’s Southern plantations. As malaria spread like wildfire across the American South, killing off Native Americans, Africans were forced into the slave trade.

On the medical side, malaria provided scientists with a fundamental understanding of transmission vectors, including how disease-carrying animals can infect human populations and what can be done to stop them.

2. Ebola

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Few diseases have fueled hysteria quite like Ebola, which was only discovered in Africa in the late 1970s. Ebola, short for Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), is a virus that leads to extreme bleeding in humans and other primates. Symptoms can take several days to weeks to develop. They include sore throat, muscular pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and eventual internal and external bleeding.

Depending on the strain, Ebola comes with a high mortality rate, killing almost half of those it infects. However, mortality rates can run as high as 90 percent. The deadliest Ebola outbreak spread out of West Africa in March 2014. It killed five times more individuals than all previous outbreaks combined.

Cases were reported in the United States and Europe (including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain). Full containment of the virus didn’t occur until 2016. Its spread and aftermath dramatically tested the World Health Organization’s ability to respond to a modern pandemic.

1. Cholera

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At its worst, cholera can go from asymptomatic to fatal in just under three hours. Cholera is a diarrheal disease caused by a bacterium that is usually spread through water or food systems that lack proper sanitation. Although the roots of the disease were in the Ganges Delta in India, cholera has since spread across the planet. There have been pandemics in South Asia (1961), Africa (1971), and the Americas (1991).

Every year, there are as many as four million cases of cholera with more than 100,000 dying as a result. As of July 28, 2010, the United Nations resolved to explicitly recognize clean drinking water as a human right, a development inherently tied to the spread of water-borne bacteria.

Top image: Ebola virus in 3D. Credit: Brandon Farley/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Listverse. Top image added.]

Monday, 15 January 2018

10 WEIRD THINGS STORED IN GIANT VAULTS

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10 Weird Things Stored in Giant Vaults
By Karl Smallwood,
Toptenz, 15 January 2018.

The world is full of valuable objects, objects their owners want to squirrel away and hide from the world lest they be stolen by ninjas, handsome men in suits, of handsome ninjas in suits. In addition to gold, jewels, and old SNES games, there are some surprising things hidden away deep underground in cartoonishly massive vaults. Things like…

10. Every LEGO set ever

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Hidden below the living Bob Ross painting that is Denmark is a large vault containing the granted wishes of every 12-year-old who wanted a LEGO Death Star and got a box of Mega Bloks instead. Simply put, the underground facility contains, according to one article, about five copies of every LEGO set ever made from the company’s inception until today.

Along with all the LEGO sets from your childhood, the vault contains copies of rare promotional material and even copies of unique LEGO sets produced for individual clients, and copies of exceptionally rare pieces that are no longer made.

Due to the fact that every single piece of LEGO ever made in the company’s history still fits together, theoretically a person with access to the vault could combine every single set to create a singular, super-creation incorporating every facet of pop-culture from the last five decades.

9. Paint made from mummies

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Tucked away in the bowels of the Harvard Art Museum is an unusual collection known as the Forbes Pigment Collection. Containing color swatches made from everything from ground up mummies to extinct species of flower, the Forbes Pigment Collection is likely the most expansive collection of colors ever created.

Along with serving as a reference for artists, the pigment collection serves a secondary function as a historical repository for unique shades of paint that can be used to authenticate art.

Sadly, the rarity of many of the paints housed in the museum means that using them is out of the question, which is a shame because it effectively kills our dream of drawing a huge dong using paint created from the crushed up remains of an ancient and powerful pharaoh.

8. Napoleon’s cologne

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If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what Napoleon’s armpits smelled like after he doused them in pre-industrial revolution era cologne, then wonder no more because the Osmothèque has you covered.

The Osmothèque, or scent archive as it’s sometimes known, is essentially a repository of every fragrance ever created, or close to it. Along with containing samples of virtually every modern perfume and cologne (largely because the Osmothèque can ask for a sample of any fragrance produced in France, regardless of whether or not its formula is supposed to be a secret), it also has historical whiffs, too.

While perusing the Osmothèque’s vault you can smell samples of perfumes worn by historical figures like Napoleon and Marie Antoinette and even fragrances created from now extinct or illegal ingredients. Illegal in this sense meaning ingredients that have since been found to cause allergic reactions and whatnot. So yes, you can know what Napoleon smelled like after he took a particularly large poop and wanted to mask the smell if you really want to.

7. Parmesan cheese

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For a lot of people, Parmesan cheese and garlic bread are life. Unfortunately, only one of them is considered so valuable they have to store it in a massive vault - and no, it’s not the garlic bread. It’s the cheese.

In short, in Italy there’s a special tier of Parmesan cheese called Parmigianino Reggiano that is considered to be so valuable that there’s a bank that makes a fortune exclusively giving out loans against it. Basically, during the curing process for the cheese, which can take upwards of three years, the bank will hold it in a special, air-conditioned vault and the owner can take out a loan against it to pay their staff or whatever. When the loan is paid off, the owner gets the cheese back and can sell it for a premium.

The cheese contained in the Parmesan vault is valued in excess of US$100 million and the bank is hardened against everything from cyber-security attacks to Ocean’s 11 style break-ins. This said, the bank has been robbed three times in the past, forcing a sheepish executive to admit that some bad men had broken in and stolen a bunch of their cheese.

6. Enough Prince music to last until the next century


Prince was an artist so prolific and talented that he frequently wrote hit songs for other artists when he was bored. The artist famously hoarded away much of the music he wrote in a secret, temperature controlled vault filled to the brim with riffs, lyrics, entire songs and even movies starring himself that he felt the world wasn’t ready to handle just yet. According to those privy to such information, the music contained in Prince’s sex-vault was amongst the best the artist ever recorded, which begs the question: will we ever hear any of it?

In short, nobody really knows because it’s not clear what the Purple One’s instructions were to his lawyers in regards to the vault’s contents. Which is a shame, because it apparently contains enough music to give us a new Prince album every year for the next century. Meaning Prince could potentially enjoy a longer career as a ghost than he did while alive.

5. Every wrestling match ever


In 2013 the WWE quietly published an article discussing the fact that the company owns hundreds of thousands of tapes containing footage of nearly every professional wrestling match ever staged. Along with footage from their own archives, the WWE also owns tapes from rival companies they’ve bought out like WCW, tapes stored in dusty old boxes they fittingly hadn’t even bothered opening after leaving them inside their giant mountain vault. Because, oh yeah - we forgot to mention, the tapes are stored inside of a mountain.

You see, most of the tapes are in the process of being digitally transcribed and are stored inside of a giant bomb-proof vault inside of a mountain in the Catskills. This vault is nuclear-hardened, meaning in the unlikely event the world is erased in a ball of nuclear fire like that dream sequence in Terminator 2, we’ll still be able to watch Steve Austin suplex people through flaming tables.

4. Every piece of Scientology-related media ever

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According to Scientologists, the human body is merely a vessel for an immortal alien spirit condemned to an eternity of floating through the cosmos thanks in part to the actions of Lord Xenu, our galactic tormentor. In keeping with the idea that our spirits can live forever, Scientologists have taken to preserving their knowledge in the New Mexico desert inside of a vault (the aerial view of which is pictured above) hardened against world-ending threats like nuclear bombs or a meteor strike.

In short, Scientologists have begun creating literal hard copies of all recorded Scientologist literature by etching it onto large, stainless steel plates. These plates are in turn stored inside of titanium capsules that are designed to outlive humanity and ensure that if everyone on Earth was killed by super-gonorrhea or something, the aliens that pick apart the wreckage of our world will be able to learn all about Scientology.

3. Michael Jackson music up the wazoo


Like Prince, Michael Jackson left behind an impressive amount of music that is stored inside of a big ol’ vault nobody was allowed to access when the singer was alive. And like with the Purple One, there’s enough music in MJ’s vault to ensure people could enjoy new music well into the 22nd century and nobody is really quite sure what’s going to happen to it.

The vault is apparently filled with both high-quality recordings of live concerts as well as “endless” amounts of unreleased album material, in addition to snippets of content like lyrics, riffs, and sick dance beats. In other words, there’s a very good chance that right now there’s more unreleased Michael Jackson material swimming around out there than there is stuff you can buy or stream on Spotify.

2. Enough seeds to start over, if we needed to

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Money, as they say, makes the world go around, but if Fallout has taught us anything, it’s that money isn’t worth all that much in a Mad Max-esque uber-apocalypse. To this end, the nations of the world have pooled their resources to create a so-called doomsday vault that contains not money or gold, but seeds. Specifically, the seeds of crops and staple foods so that we have a lasting record of the food used to feed the masses. The idea is that, if the worst should happen and a strange future-plague wipes out all the corn, we’ll have an untouched example of the seeds used to grow it to start fresh.

Located just a stone’s throw away from the North Pole on an island in Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is amongst the most secure places on Earth and could survive everything from a point-blank atomic blast to a backhand from Godzilla. Even if the facility was utterly cut off from the outside world, the vault’s location would mean the seeds would remain frozen for centuries, allowing it serve, as one operator puts it, as “the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply.”

1. A perfect sphere


Located in a vault just outside of Paris is a hunk of metal intrinsically tied to the world of physics. A ball of polished platinum and iridium that, for over a century, has served as the international standard for the kilogram. The problem is that the weight of ball and the 40 or so copies that exist keep changing by an almost infinitesimal amount, which isn’t good for reality - which could disintegrate if the value changes too much. We assume.

To fix this, eggheads have created the closest thing to a perfect sphere humanity is aware of to serve as the new standard. Created from a single crystal of silicon-28, the ball is so impossibly smooth that if it were scaled to the size of the Earth, it’s highest mountain would be 9-feet tall. Unlike the previous standard, the new, hyper-smooth ball (silicon sphere) has a set weight due to the fact the atoms of silicon-28 are easily calculated. However, scientists aren’t really sure whether the ball is a perfect kilogram so they’re not sure if the ball should become the new standard. Meaning somewhere out there is a vault housing a near-perfect, glistening sphere of silicon surrounded by scientific equipment.

We don’t know about you, but we think the sphere should be hidden away with everything else on this list so that if the world does end, future generations find a mysterious orb surrounded by millions of hours of footage of large sweaty men suplexing each other while being serenaded by Prince and Michael Jackson.

Top image: Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Credit: Martyn Smith/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Toptenz. Top image added.]

Sunday, 14 January 2018

12 WEIRDEST TECH AT THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW (CES) 2018

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The Weirdest Tech at CES 2018
By Michael Kan,
PCMag, 12 January 2018.

Do you want a smart saddle for your horse? How about a piece of robot luggage that'll literally follow you around?

This year's CES had a lot of tech you'll probably never need. Amid a sea of new products are smaller vendors and startups offering up gear in niche areas. Some of it can be pretty amusing; much of it is deeply weird. Here's some of the more curious gadgets we saw at the show.

1. Focus1

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Attention, teachers: are kids dozing off in your class? A company called BrainCo has designed a headband that'll monitor their attention levels. It may seem a little silly (not to mention a privacy minefield), but the product can reportedly pinpoint which kids are failing to understand a lesson using electroencephalography (EEG). BrainCo is already selling the product to a distributor in China and plans to launch the Focus1 in the US later this year.

2. Spartan Underwear

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Why is this man smiling? Because his undies are blocking radiation. Duh. In its marketing materials, Spartan does not mince words: "Protect your nuts from cellphone radiation!" Prices start at US$45.

3. E-Vone

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When a loved one takes a tumble, these smart shoes will automatically send you an alert. The shoes are built with sensors, wireless connectivity, and a battery that can notify an emergency contact with the wearer's location. It's not just for the elderly, though; E-Vone says it can also be helpful for keeping tabs on construction workers or hikers who roam alone, for example.

E-Vone plans to launch the product first in France this September, before bringing it to the US and China. The company is developing a whole catalog of shoes, each of which might be priced at 100 Euros. Customers will then pay 20 Euros a month for the alert service.

4. CX-1 Luggage

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A Chinese company called ForwardX has created a suitcase, the CX-1, that can wheel itself around - all on its own. Its camera can recognize your face, body, and clothes, which it uses, along with its four wheels, to tail you for a max speed of 7mph.

Having this product around will no doubt elicit some confused stares at the airport. But for interested buyers, the product is slated to go on sale in late March or April, first on Indiegogo. Pricing is still being determined.

5. Acute Angle PC

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One company at CES is helping consumers get into the cryptocurrency craze with a Windows 10 PC that'll mine the company's own virtual currency while you're away. Triangle Technology says the PC can mine about 30 of its Acute Angle Coins (and only Acute Angle Coins) if allowed to run for the whole day. Currently, that amounts to about US$45. The Acute Angle PC itself runs an Intel Celeron N3450 quad-core chip and has 8GB of RAM. The product will cost US$600 and starts shipping in March.

6. The Singing Machine Studio

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Too afraid to sing some karaoke? This karaoke machine is built with Auto-Tune, which will correct your pitch. Anyone who sings through it won't have to worry about sounding off key; the software inside will process your voice as you sing. It can also play HD karaoke videos and record your vocal performance. The Singing Machine Studio is slated to arrive this summer for US$199.

7. SNGL

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There's a new way to take phone calls from your phone or smartwatch. Sngl is a special wristband that'll vibrate the sound through your hand.

When a phone call comes in, simply place a finger over your ear. The wristband will vibrate the sound up your hand into your fingertip. PCMag tried it, and it does work, although the vibrated sound is a little faint.

The wristband can connect to a phone or smartwatch over Bluetooth, and comes with a microphone embedded inside so the caller can hear you. It's priced at US$249 and is launching in March.

8. iJump Saddle

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This smart saddle is designed to help competitive horse riders train. It works a bit like a fitness band; the saddle tracks the animal's locomotion, in addition to its heart rate.

To get the most out of the saddle, riders will use a smartphone app to record themselves riding the horse. They then replay the footage with the data gathered by the saddle shown underneath.

The iJump is available in France, and will arrive in the US in a few months. Horse riders can lease one for about US$150 to US$200 a month. [Video]

9. SKIIN

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Yes, there is now smart underwear. SKIIN is a line of undergarments that can track you heart rate, breathing, temperature, and more.

The apparel is built with tiny sensors and conductive yarn that feel the same as fabric. Once the wearer attaches a small low-power battery module onto the clothes, the technology will activate and begin collecting the stats.

SKIIN will be available this summer and it's catering to the health-conscious crowd. An 8-pack of undergarments will cost US$499. One battery module lasts for 24 hours.

10. Short Story Dispenser

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Print is not dead, at least according to the Short Story Dispenser. With it, you choose between reading a short piece of fiction that can be finished in one, three, or five minutes. Each dispenser will randomly select from thousands of different stories; for PCMag, it printed out an amusing romance tale.

The company behind it, Short Edition, says the product offers a "literary break" in your day. It already has 20 dispensers in the US. Mainly businesses are buying the product to give customers a bit of culture or amusement while they wait in line.

11. YaDoggie Scooper

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This smart dog food scooper is designed to tell your family when you've fed your pet, so you'll never worry about overfeeding. A green light on the scooper means go ahead, while a red light means Fido has had enough.

The product comes from dog food subscription service YaDoggie, which is developing an app to which the scooper can send alerts. It will be bundled into that subscription service at the end of the first quarter. For a 40-pound dog, the subscription service costs about US$50 a month.

12. Bellus3D Face Camera Pro

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Bellus3D was at CES to show off its 3D face-scanning device, the Face Camera Pro, which is now in production. The US$499 device can be used "for applications such as digital makeup simulations, virtual eyeglass design, facial surgery before-and-after simulation, dental orthodontics modeling, and custom face mask designs for scuba, industrial masks, and CPAP," Bellus3D says. That's great, but check out those scans. #NightmareFuel

Top image: Spartan Underwear. Credit: Video screenshot Spartan/Vimeo.

[Source: PCMag. Top image and some links added.]